Archived Story

Resolved in 2011

Published 9:10am Monday, January 3, 2011

Column: Angie Barker, Entertain Me

New Year’s Eve/Day is probably my favorite holiday.

It’s for sure in the top 5 anyway.

Well, it’s my favorite time of year that isn’t summer… or fall… or spring.

I am a big, huge, Grand Canyon-sized advocate of self-improvement, which is what New Year’s is all about, other than the raging party on New Year’s Eve. Don’t underestimate the importance of the party though. It is an important step in the process of self-improvement. Reflect on what’s passed and celebrate what you accomplished or, if you’re a glass half-empty kind of person, the disasters you managed to avoid. Either way, raise your glass filled to whatever level of fullness that reflects how you see the world, and don’t forget one for your homies.

I believe we should always be striving to better ourselves, our surroundings, and our world. My hope is to leave the people and places I encounter better for my having been there, even in a small way. I fall well short of this ambitious goal, but sometimes it is the trying that becomes the improvement. For those about to rock, I not only salute you, but offer this advice:

Step 1 | Set goals for the coming year.

I love making lists so this step is very exciting and it gives me a peek into my future. What will I be doing this year? I might be reading all the Harry Potter books before the final movie hits theaters, spending a weekend watching all of “Lost,” or seeing a Broadway show on Broadway. (Author’s note: Not all goals are created equal. If you run into my husband, tell him how amazing New York is and that he should totally take his wife there.)

Since this is an entertainment column I made all my goals entertainment related. How does that improve my surroundings and the world, you ask? Well, if you are on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and they ask an entertainment-related question, you can phone this friend. I’m a humanitarian like that. Plus you’re going to share your winnings with me, right? I mean I did just help you win the million.

Step 2 | Give yourself a break.

Don’t worry about falling short of completing your goal. Self-improvement is a lot like road trips: it’s the journey, not the destination that matters. Especially if your road trip is to North Dakota, but not so much if your destination is Las Vegas. My point is know thyself, reader. Get out of the experience what you can and leave the guilt at home.

One year I decided to quit smoking and lose weight. If you have ever tried either one then you’re nodding in sympathy. If you have ever tried doing both simultaneously then the grimace is still plastered to your face. Trying to conquer one means an increase in the other, and vice versa. It was like getting beat up by negatively-charged magnets. Not one of my better ideas. No longer setting myself up for failure: check.

Step 3 | Try again.

Life is not a video game from the 80’s and 90’s with limited attempts at winning. If you fail, try again. If the goal doesn’t work, then change it. The only rules are the ones you make. If that doesn’t work then try: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, select, start. That baby always works.

Albert Lea resident Angie Zoller Barker’s column appears every Monday in the Albert Lea Tribune. Email questions, recommendations, or comments to